BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) — With crime in Baton Rouge not slowing down, the Senate committee moved forward to bring back the “Raise the Age” law, which would prosecute 17-year-olds as adults.
Rachel Gassert, a policy director at the Louisiana Center for Children’s Rights, said the law needs to stay in place because 17-year-olds are still just kids.
“17-year-old kids, they are juniors in high school. Tony Clayton, the district attorney from the 18th Judicial District, said that he wanted to have the choice about whether, you know, about what to do with these 17-year-olds but this law actually takes away his choice. It mandates that all 17-year-olds have to be prosecuted as adults,” said Gassert.
Governor John Bel Edwards’ office has also come out against the bill stating:
“Gov. Edwards disagrees strongly with the attorney general’s allegation that the Raise the Age Act of 2016, passed overwhelmingly by the legislature with bipartisan support, limits the ability of prosecutors to address violent crime. Raise the Age did not have any effect on the provisions of law that authorize prosecutors to prosecute juveniles who are 15 years old or older as adults if they are charged with violent crimes, like murder and armed robbery. The Governor believes every child should be given the ability to succeed and that includes juveniles who may make mistakes but who can turn their lives around if given the opportunity. Gov. Edwards will continue to stay engaged as the bill moves through the legislative process.”